CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Troy Industries is the latest gun manufacturer to announce it's moving its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Clarksville. So why are so many gun makers taking aim at Tennessee?
Famed Italian firearm company Beretta was one of the first to pull the trigger on Tennessee. The gun manufacturing facility officially opened up in Gallatin back in 2016. Since then, several gun and accessory dealers like GS Performance, have followed them here.
"I’ve actually got a client that’s in the process of moving their manufacturing from Massachusetts," said John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.
Steve Troy, President and CEO of Troy Industries told NewsChannel 5 in a statement that politics played a big role in their relocation:
"While TROY has enjoyed a very successful period of growth in Massachusetts, the changing climate for firearms manufacturers in the state determined the need for our relocation to Tennessee to ensure the continued success of the company. We are excited to begin this new venture and appreciate all the support we have already received from Representative Mark Green, Governor Bill Lee and the state of Tennessee in making this relocation possible.”
That explains why they're moving, said Harris, but not why they picked Tennessee. "There’s a lot of incentives to be here, but they’re all economic," he said.
Harris argues a lot of the allure is why so many others are also moving to the Volunteer State. "Most of them are going into rural communities that are conservative, that are economical in terms of their housing markets, that are close by to areas that have good school systems or private school networks," he said.
But then there are the economic incentives. NewsChannel 5 doesn't know the details of the Troy Industries deal, but the state offered Beretta nearly $11 million in incentives to call Tennessee home. Even though Harris is a fan of firearms, he recoils at the idea of a sweetheart deal.
"I think Tennessee’s really demonstrating it likes corporate welfare," said Harris. "I think that’s picking winners and losers at taxpayers' expense. They’ll justify it and they do justify it and both parties do it."
But Harris says, if the state continues to dangle those prospects, Tennessee will continue to be the bull's eye for gun makers.
The Troy Industries relocation is expected to be a $7 million investment bringing Clarksville 75 jobs.